Countryside and Rights of Way Act (2000)
Whilst public rights of way provide the main linear means of access in Neath Port Talbot, the CROW Act significantly increased the opportunities for members of the public to gain pedestrian access to designated areas of the countryside. The Act allows public access on foot to land classified as open country which is defined as ‘mountain, moor, heath or down’, and provides similar public access rights on all registered common land.
Land classified as access land under the Act is indicated on maps prepared by CCW and those maps will be reviewed every ten years.
The areas of land which have become available for public access as a result of the CROW Act comprise:
1374 hectares open access land
1151 hectares common land
The County Borough Council register of common land, and the maps of CROW Act access land, are available for public inspection at the Council offices.
Following the CROW Act, the County Borough Council has surveyed the open access land and common land, to ensure it is available for public use. All rights of way which enter open access land have been waymarked to inform members of the public that they are entering such land. The Council will continue to monitor access to these areas of land and will attempt to respond to any requests for additional means of access received from members of the public.In addition to the access rights referred to above, the CROW Act also provides landowners with opportunity to dedicate their land for public access. The Forestry Commission has dedicated all its freehold estate for public access, and this amounts to 13,480ha in Neath Port Talbot. A further 2588ha of land is held by the Commission under leasehold title, but unfortunately there are no immediate plans to provide a formal public right of access to this land. Nevertheless, the forest plantations provide a vast area of land which is now available for walking, pedal cycling and horse riding